15 January 2014

Water Purification: The Theory {Plus A Long, Random Tangent About Dreams & Tribbles}

I'm 40 something and, as we get ready to set off cruising full-time, for the first time in my life I find myself thinking about things like water purification. Something I never thought I would think about let alone wake up in the middle of the night dreaming about. And it was a very strange dream indeed. A furry monster (like a cross between a tribble and a yeti) with impossibly long claws poking and jabbing at me and demanding to know if our water was pure. When I woke up, the first thing that came to mind was the fact that the monster really could do with a manicure. My second thought was, "I wonder what this dream means?" Thanks goodness for the internet because in a matter of minutes I was diagnosing my dream with an online dream dictionary. Kind of like you do when you have a strange pain in your side and your tongue looks bumpy and you immediately go online to diagnose yourself with some disease that you can't pronounce and save yourself the cost of a visit to your GP. Well, here is what the dream dictionary told me:

Monster - To dream that you are chased or followed by a monster represents aspects of yourself that you find repulsive and ugly. You may possess some fears or some repressed emotions. Try to confront the monster in your dream and figure out who or what aspect of yourself the monster represents.

Yeti - To see a yeti in your dream suggests that you need to learn to find balance between your reasonable, rational side and your emotional, instinctual nature. 

Water - To see muddy or dirty water in your dream indicates that you are wallowing in your negative emotions. You may need to take some time to cleanse your mind and find internal peace.

Claws - To see claws in your dream signify feelings of vulnerability and/or hostility. You feel a need to defend or protect yourself or your surroundings. You also need to be careful with your words and actions.

I am disappointed to report that the dictionary didn't have an entry for "tribble". It is clearly defective. So, I've made up my own entry:

Tribble - To see a tribble in your dream indicates that you wish you had your very own spaceship and could go off and explore other planets. Alternatively, it signifies that you've watched too many Star Trek episodes in your 40 something years and you have way too many DVDs.

My mom and someone else recently asked me how I was feeling about setting off on this little adventure, was I feeling nervous, did I have trepidations etc. I didn't think I was concerned but clearly my dream indicates that I am repressing some very negative emotions about giardia and that I really need to get this whole water purification thing sorted out. And I think the tribble thing speaks for itself. Despite the risk of drinking bad water, we're off for a fun adventure on our spaceship boat. {If you've stuck with me this far after that long and random dream tangent, this is where we get to the part about water purification.}

We don't have a lot of water storage on our boat which was fine last summer because we were back onshore by the time we were close to running out of clean water. This time will be very different as we won't have a permanent mooring at Westhaven Marina with its lovely, clean water. And instead we'll be looking to top up our water at various islands and provincial towns. The places where they say, "Warning: This water is untreated. Only a fool would drink it without treating it first." or "Warning: This water is treated but there is a risk of giardia. Boil your water."

Our flexible water bladder tucked away under the settee. These are great because they fit into odd shaped areas. Also note the retro 1970's vibe we have going with our cushions. You probably last saw this print on your Grandpa's Lazy Boy chair in the wood paneled rec room.
Our main water storage is a Plastmio flexible water bladder. I had assumed we had the 100 liter one, but after checking it out, I've discovered we only have the 50 liter version which isn't really a lot of water in the scheme of things. I was surprised how much they retail for - the 100 liter one will set you back NZ$199. But then I was surprised that I was surprised as everyone knows that anything you buy for a boat is super expensive. Last year, we just filled up the bladder and sailed away. It never occurred to us that the bladder should be cleaned regularly. Oops. This year, things will be different. I read on the Smart Marine site that you should add baking soda to the bladder, fill it up with water, let it sit for at least a day and then flush it out. Great advice, but no specifics on how much baking soda to add. If anyone has done this before, please give us some advice. I really don't want to have another yeti-tribble hybrid dream.

While we use our water bladder water for cleaning and cooking, our drinking water comes from a 20 liter jerry can with a spigot which we keep on the counter. We've just always filled it up with fresh water and happily drank from it. But again, did we think to clean it out? No, of course not. We rinsed it out a number of times, which Scott thinks is good enough. But this year it will be different. I'm thinking of putting a little bleach in the jerry can with some water, letting it sit for a while and then rinsing it out. Anything that is living in there will die by the hands of Mr. Bleach.

All of this cleaning of our bladder and jerry can is well and good, but to date we've filled them with clean water. Our bladder and jerry can may have been dirty, but at least our water was clean. But now we're getting into the territory of having to treat water because I really don't want to get giardia or some other weird disease. From what I've read, there are a few ways to do this:

1.  Boiling - You can purify your water by boiling it for at least five minutes. Seems simple, but there are a few downsides. It uses up fuel, you can only treat small amounts of water at a time and it can taste funny as there isn't any air in it.

2.  Bleach - This seems simple. You add 16 drops of 5-6% bleach to every gallon of water (I'll need to do some conversions to liters and buy an eye dropper). Let it sit for 30 minutes and then sniff. If you can't smell a little bleach, repeat and let it stand for 15 minutes. If you still don't smell bleach, give up because your water is too dirty to be treated and book yourself a slip at a nearby marina to top up with their clean water. And I learned something new - bleach goes bad. It shouldn't be more than a year old otherwise it loses its potency. Did you know that? Yes, you probably did as you've been treating water since you were 5 years old. I'm really late getting into the game on this one. This method seems fine for our jerry can. I'm just not sure if you can or should put bleach into a flexible water bladder. More research required. Or if you know the answer already, please let me know.

3.  Purification Tablets - You can buy kits from camping and outdoor stores to treat your water. The tablets are generally iodine or chlorine. You mix them with the water and presto, Bob's your uncle. But from what I've read, bleach is recommended over the tablets and it is cheaper anyways.

So that's the theory about water purification. We'll test it out and report back at the end of the summer what the reality was like for us.

As always, any advice, suggestions or thoughts welcome about water purification, dream interpretation or tribbles.

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  1. Maybe look into a water filter option, like a Berkey?

    1. Thanks - not familiar with the Berkeys, but will definitely check it out. Cheers - Ellen


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